15 Best Things To Do In Kolkata

Kolkata, the cultural capital of India and also known as Calcutta, is a city steeped in history and traditions. From its colonial past to its vibrant present, Kolkata has something to offer for every traveler who visits India. The city boasts of a rich culinary culture, stunning architecture, and a plethora of activities that cater to different preferences. Whether you have just moved to Kolkata or are planning your next trip here, there are plenty of things to do in this bustling metropolis.

In this article, we will explore some of the best things to do in Kolkata that will help you make the most out of your time here. We've curated a list that includes everything from visiting iconic landmarks and exploring hidden gems to indulging in local Kolkata street food and experiencing the vibrant nightlife scene.

1. Victoria Memorial Hall

Victoria Memorial Hall Pin

If you're looking for a glimpse into the grandeur of British India, a visit to the Victoria Memorial Hall is a must. This iconic monument, built in honor of Queen Victoria, is a stunning example of colonial architecture and houses a museum that showcases the history and culture of the region.

As you step into the monument, you'll be greeted by lush gardens and fountains, making for a picturesque setting. Inside, you'll find a vast collection of artifacts, including paintings, sculptures, and manuscripts, that offer a glimpse into the past. The museum also features galleries dedicated to the royal Bengal tigers, which are native to the region.

If you're interested in art, be sure to visit the Academy of Fine Arts, which is located just a few minutes away from the Victoria Memorial Hall. Here, you can admire works by renowned artists from the region and beyond.

When it comes to accommodations in Kolkata, the Oberoi Grand is a luxurious option that's located just a short distance from the monument. With its elegant decor and top-notch amenities, it's the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring.

Contact:

Address: 1, Queens Way, Maidan, Kolkata, West Bengal 700071, India

Phone: +91 33 2223 1890

2. Dakshineswar Kali Temple

Dakshineswar Kali Temple Pin

When looking for a spiritual experience in Kolkata, then the Dakshineswar Kali Temple should be on your list. This temple is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali, who is known for her fierce and powerful nature. The temple is located on the banks of the Hooghly River, and it's a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

When you visit the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, you'll be struck by its beautiful architecture and peaceful atmosphere. The temple is surrounded by lush gardens, and there are many shrines and statues to explore. You can also take part in various rituals and ceremonies, such as the aarti, which is a Hindu religious ritual of worship.

The Dakshineswar Kali Temple is also known for its association with the famous Indian saint Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He was a devotee of the goddess Kali, and he spent many years at the temple in meditation and prayer. Today, you can visit his room at the temple, which has been preserved as a shrine.

If you're interested in learning more about the Hindu religion, then the Dakshineswar Kali Temple is a great place to start. You can also visit during one of the many festivals that take place throughout the year, such as Durga Puja, which is a major Hindu festival celebrated in Kolkata. Overall, the Dakshineswar Kali Temple is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in spirituality and culture in Kolkata.

3. Howrah Bridge

Howrah Bridge Pin

If you're visiting Kolkata, you cannot miss the iconic Howrah Bridge. This cantilever bridge spans across the Hooghly River, connecting Kolkata and Howrah. It is one of the busiest bridges in the world, carrying both road and pedestrian traffic. One of the best ways to experience the bridge is by taking a tram ride. The tram ride will take you through the busy streets of Kolkata, and you'll get a great view of the bridge from a distance. Alternatively, you can take a ferry ride on the Hooghly River and get a closer look at the bridge.

If you're interested in the history of the Howrah Bridge, you can visit the nearby Rabindra Setu Museum. The museum has exhibits on the construction and engineering of the bridge, as well as its cultural significance. For a unique experience, you can visit the launch ghat near the bridge. From here, you can take a boat ride on the Hooghly River and see the bridge from a different perspective.

Overall, the Howrah Bridge is a must-visit Kolkata attraction. Whether you're interested in its history, engineering, or just want to take in the view, there are plenty of ways to experience this iconic landmark.

4. Indian Museum (Jadu Ghar)

Indian Museum-Kolkata Pin

If you are interested in history and culture, you cannot miss visiting the Indian Museum, also known as Jadu Ghar. It is the largest and oldest museum in India, established in 1814. The museum has a vast collection of rare and unique artifacts, including fossils, manuscripts, paintings, and sculptures.

The museum is divided into six sections, namely Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, Zoology, and Botany. The Art section has a vast collection of Mughal paintings, terracotta art, and textiles. The Archaeology section has a collection of ancient Indian sculptures and artifacts. The Anthropology section has a collection of tribal artifacts, and the Zoology section has a collection of stuffed animals and skeletons. The Botany section has a collection of rare and exotic plants.

The Indian Museum is also home to a science museum, which has interactive exhibits on physics, chemistry, and biology. The museum also has a library with a vast collection of books and manuscripts.

Contact:

Address: 27, Jawaharlal Nehru Rd, Fire Brigade Head Quarter, New Market Area, Dharmatala, Taltala, Kolkata, West Bengal 700016, India

Phone: +91 33 2252 1790

5. St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral in Kolkata,India Pin

One of the top things to do during your trip to Kolkata is visit the St. Paul's Cathedral, a beautiful Anglican cathedral located in the city of Kolkata. It was built between 1839 and 1847 and is considered to be one of the most important churches in India. The cathedral is situated on Cathedral Road, Maidan, and is easily accessible by public transport.

Once inside, you will be struck by the grandeur and beauty of the cathedral. The interior is adorned with beautiful stained glass windows and intricate carvings. The cathedral also houses some interesting memorials, including a memorial to Bishop Heber, who was the first bishop of Calcutta.

St. Paul's Cathedral is open to visitors every day from 9 am to 12 pm and from 3 pm to 6 pm. Entry is free, but donations are welcome. If you are interested in attending a service, the Sunday service is at 8 am and 10:30 am. Whether you are a history buff or simply looking for a peaceful place to reflect, this cathedral is sure to impress.

Contact:

Address: 1A, Cathedral Rd, Maidan, Kolkata, West Bengal 700071, India

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6. Birla Temple

Birla Temple Pin

If you are looking for a peaceful and spiritual experience during your stay in Kolkata, a visit to the Birla Temple should be on your list of things to do in Kolkata. The temple, also known as Birla Mandir, is dedicated to Lord Krishna and his consort Radha. It was built by the Birla family in 1939 and is a fine example of modern architecture.

The temple is located on a hill and offers a stunning view of the city. As you enter the temple, you will be greeted by the beautiful idols of Lord Krishna and Radha. The temple is adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures, and the walls are decorated with paintings depicting the life of Lord Krishna.

If you are interested in astronomy, you can also visit the Birla Planetarium, which is located adjacent to the temple. The planetarium offers daily shows on various topics related to astronomy and space science.

It is one of the oldest planetariums in India and offers daily shows on various topics related to astronomy and space science. The planetarium is equipped with a state-of-the-art projector that can simulate the night sky and display the movements of the planets and stars. The shows are conducted in English, Hindi, and Bengali.

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7. Mother House

Mother House -Kolkata Pin

The Mother House is the place where Mother Teresa lived and worked for many years, and it is a must-visit tourist attraction in Kolkata for anyone interested in her life and legacy. Inside the Mother House, you'll find a small museum dedicated to Mother Teresa's life and work, as well as a chapel where you can pay your respects and attend Mass. The atmosphere is quiet and contemplative, and you'll find plenty of opportunities for reflection and prayer.

One of the most moving experiences you can have at the Mother House is to visit the tomb of Mother Teresa herself. This simple grave is a testament to her humility and devotion to serving the poor and sick.

If you're interested in learning more about the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order founded by Mother Teresa, you can also visit their nearby headquarters and volunteer at one of their many charitable programs throughout the city.

Contact:

Address: 54A, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Rd, Taltala, Kolkata, West Bengal 700016, India

Phone: +91 33 2249 7115

8. Eden Gardens

Eden Gardens stadium kolkata Pin

If you are a cricket fan, then visiting the Eden Gardens is one of the best things to do in Kolkata. It is one of the largest cricket stadiums in the world with a seating capacity of 68.000. The stadium is the home of the Bengal cricket team and the Indian Premier League's Kolkata Knight Riders which was established in 1864. It has hosted some of the most important cricket matches, including the 1987 World Cup final and the 2016 World T20 final.

When you visit Eden Gardens, you can take a guided tour of the stadium and learn about its history and significance. You can also watch a cricket match if there is one happening during your visit. The atmosphere in the stadium during a match is electric, and you can feel the passion and excitement of the fans.

Apart from cricket, Eden Gardens also hosts other events such as concerts and exhibitions. The stadium has a museum that showcases the history of Indian cricket and the achievements of the Indian cricket team.

Contact:

Address: Maidan, B.B.D. Bagh, Kolkata, West Bengal 700021, India

9. South Park Street Cemetery

South Park Street Cemetery Pin

If you're interested in history, South Park Street Cemetery is a popular place in Kolkata. This cemetery, established in 1767, is the final resting place of many notable figures from Kolkata's colonial past. It is a peaceful and well-maintained place, with rows of gravestones and tombs surrounded by trees and greenery.

As you walk through the cemetery, you'll see the graves of prominent British officials, soldiers, and merchants who lived and worked in Kolkata during the colonial period. Many of the graves have intricate carvings and inscriptions that offer a glimpse into the lives of these individuals.

In addition to its historical significance, South Park Street Cemetery is also known for its eerie atmosphere and is rumored to be haunted. If you're feeling brave, you can take a guided tour of the cemetery at night to learn more about its ghostly legends.

Overall, South Park Street Cemetery is a unique and fascinating place to see that offers a glimpse into Kolkata's rich history. Whether you're interested in history, architecture, or the paranormal, this cemetery is definitely worth a visit.

Contact:

Address: Opposite The Assembly of God Church School, Park Street, Mullick Bazar, Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal 700017, India

10. Jorasanko Thakur Bari

Jorasanko Thakur Bari Pin

If you're a literature enthusiast, then the Jorasanko Thakur Bari is the place to visit in Kolkata. This place is the ancestral home of the Tagore family, and it is where Rabindranath Tagore, the first non-European Nobel laureate, was born and spent most of his childhood. The house has been restored to reflect the way the Tagore family lived, and you can take a tour of the house to see the family's belongings, including paintings, manuscripts, and photographs.

Apart from the house, Jorasanko Thakur Bari also has a museum dedicated to Rabindranath Tagore, where you can learn about his life, works, and contributions to literature and the Bengali renaissance. The museum has a collection of his paintings, manuscripts, and personal belongings.

If you're interested in Bengali culture and history, then Jorasanko Thakur Bari should be on your list of things to see in Kolkata.

Contact:

Address: Ganesh Talkies, 267, Rabindra Sarani, Raja Katra, Singhi Bagan, Jorasanko, Kolkata, West Bengal 700007, India

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11. Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden

Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden Pin

For nature lovers, the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden is one of the unique things to do and see during your visit to Kolkata. This botanical garden, located in Howrah, is home to an extensive collection of rare and exotic plants. The garden was previously known as the Royal Botanic Garden and is spread over an area of 109 hectares.

The garden has over 12,000 specimens of plants from all over the world, including orchids, bamboos, and palms. It is also famous for its collection of plants from the screw pine genus, Pandanus. The garden has a beautiful landscape with numerous water bodies and walking trails. You can spend hours exploring the garden and admiring the beauty of nature.

One of the main attractions of Kolkata and the garden is the Great Banyan Tree, which is over 250 years old and covers an area of 18,918 square meters. The tree is considered the largest tree in the world in terms of canopy coverage.

The garden is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on all days except Mondays and national holidays. The entry fee is INR 20 for Indian nationals and INR 100 for foreign nationals.

If you are visiting Kolkata with kids, then you can combine your visit to the garden with a trip to Nicco Park, which is a popular amusement park located nearby. You can also take a stroll on the Vidyasagar Setu, which is a cable-stayed bridge that connects Kolkata with Howrah and offers the best views of the Hooghly River.

12. Eco Tourism Park

Eco Tourism Park Pin

If you're looking for a relaxing and eco-friendly escape in Kolkata, the Eco Tourism Park is a top attraction. This park is a vast expanse of greenery and water bodies that offers a unique blend of nature and entertainment. It is a perfect place to spend a day with your family, friends, or loved ones.

This park in India is spread over 480 acres and has various attractions like a butterfly garden, a rose garden, a musical fountain, and a lake. You can take a stroll around the park or rent a bicycle to explore the surroundings. There are also various rides and activities for kids, including a toy train, a ropeway, and a paddle boat.

Eco Tourism Park is not only a recreational spot but also an educational one. The park has a biosphere reserve that showcases the diverse flora and fauna of the region. You can also learn about the various conservation programs and initiatives taken by the park to preserve the environment.

Contact:

Address: Major Arterial Road(South-East, Biswa Bangla Sarani, AA II, Newtown, Kolkata, West Bengal 700156, India

Phone: +91 33 2706 4010

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13. Science City

Science City in Kolkata Pin

If you are interested in science and technology, Science City is the place to go in Kolkata. Situated in the eastern part of the city, Science City is an interactive science museum that offers a wide range of exhibits, activities, and shows for visitors of all ages.

Managed by the National Council of Science Museums, it is one of the largest science centers in India, covering an area of over 16 acres. It features a variety of galleries, including the Evolution Park, Earth Exploration Hall, and Space Odyssey, as well as a 3D theater, a planetarium, and an outdoor science park.

One of the highlights of Science City is the Dynamotion Hall, which features over 50 interactive exhibits on topics such as sound, light, electricity, and magnetism. You can also explore the Science Museum, which showcases a collection of rare and antique scientific instruments and models.

Overall, Science City is a fascinating and educational place to visit around Kolkata, and it is sure to inspire your curiosity and wonder about the world of science and technology.

Contact:

Address: JBS Haldane Ave, Mirania Gardens, East Topsia, Topsia, Kolkata, West Bengal 700046, India

Phone: +91 33 2285 4343

14. Jain Swetamber Dadajika Temple

Jain Swetamber Dadajika Temple Pin

For those interested in exploring the religious sites of Kolkata, the Jain Swetamber Dadajika Temple is a top tourist attraction. This temple is located in the heart of Kolkata and is known for its unique architecture. The temple is made of glass and mirrors, which gives it a breathtaking appearance.

As you enter the temple, you'll be greeted by the calm and serene atmosphere that surrounds it. The temple is dedicated to Lord Mahavira, who is considered to be the founder of Jainism. The main hall of the temple is adorned with intricate carvings and beautiful paintings that depict the life of Lord Mahavira.

The temple also has a library that houses a vast collection of books on Jainism. Visitors can spend some time here, reading and learning about the religion and its teachings. The temple also has a meditation hall where one can sit and meditate in peace.

Information

Details

Location

Badridas Temple St Ward 15, Kolkata (Calcutta) 700004 India

Entry Fee

Free

Opening Hours

5:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Best Time to Visit

October to March

Duration of Visit

1-2 hours

15. Sundarbans National Park

Sundarbans National Park in India Pin

If you're a nature lover, a visit to Sundarbans National Park is a must when you're in Kolkata. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the world's largest mangrove forest. Located on the delta of the Ganges near Kolkata, and the Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers, the park covers an area of about 16,900 square kilometers, with over 4,000 square kilometers in India and the rest in Bangladesh.

Sundarbans is famous for its Bengal tigers, which are the main attraction for visitors. However, the park is also home to a variety of other wildlife, including saltwater crocodiles, Indian python, spotted deer, and many bird species. You can explore the park on boat tours, which are available from various operators.

If you're interested in learning more about the park, you can visit the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve, which is located within the park. Here, you can learn about the park's conservation efforts and see tigers in their natural habitat.

Contact:

Address: Gosaba, West Bengal 743370, India

Phone: 91 90733 86804

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FAQ

Q: What is the most famous thing in Kolkata?

A: While there are numerous attractions that make this vibrant city famous, one stands out among the rest: the iconic Howrah Bridge. Spanning across the Hooghly River, this architectural marvel is not only a lifeline for millions of commuters and vehicles but also an emblematic symbol of Kolkata itself. Built in 1943, it is often referred to as the Gateway of Kolkata due to its strategic location connecting the city's two major areas - Howrah and Kolkata.

Apart from being an architectural masterpiece, the Howrah Bridge also holds immense historical significance for Kolkata. It witnessed key events during India's struggle for independence from British rule, including protest marches led by prominent figures like Mahatma Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose.

Q: What is the main food of Kolkata?

A: The main food of Kolkata can be described as a delightful blend of flavors and textures, with an emphasis on seafood, rice, and spices. Bengali cuisine holds a special place in the hearts of Kolkatans and is loved by locals and tourists.

Rice plays a central role in every Bengali meal. It is served with various accompaniments such as fish curry, vegetable curries, lentils, or meat dishes. Kolkata boasts an extensive variety of fish preparations due to its proximity to the Bay of Bengal. From delicate Bhetki Paturi (fish fillets wrapped in banana leaves) to robust Maacher Jhol (spicy fish curry).

Apart from rice and seafood, Kolkata is also famous for its street food culture. People flock to the city's numerous street stalls and food carts to indulge in mouthwatering delicacies such as puchka (pani puri), kathi rolls (grilled flatbread filled with kebabs or vegetables), phuchka (deep-fried hollow puris filled with tangy tamarind water), jhalmuri (a mix of puffed rice, chopped vegetables, spices, and tamarind chutney), and ghugni (spiced yellow peas curry).

Q: Does Kolkata have a beach?

A: Kolkata is not typically associated with sandy beaches and crashing waves. However, this vibrant metropolis does indeed boast a beach that attracts both locals and tourists - the popular destination known as Mandarmani Beach. Located about 160 kilometers away from the heart of Kolkata, Mandarmani Beach is a serene coastal stretch along the Bay of Bengal with pristine sands extending for nearly 13 kilometers.

Despite its distance from Kolkata, Mandarmani Beach has become easily accessible over time due to improved road infrastructure connecting the two locations. Visitors can choose to drive or hire private cars to reach this tranquil beach within a few hours' journey. Moreover, several government-run buses also operate between Kolkata and Mandarmani at regular intervals for those who prefer public transportation options.

Q: Is Kolkata walkable?

A: With its narrow streets, chaotic traffic, and crowded sidewalks, navigating through the city on foot can be a challenging task. However, despite these obstacles, Kolkata offers a unique charm that makes walking an enjoyable experience.

One of the main factors that make Kolkata walkable is its compact layout. The city's architecture reflects its colonial past with numerous old buildings and narrow lanes interwoven with each other. As a result, many attractions such as Victoria Memorial or Park Street are within walking distance from each other.

Furthermore, Kolkata boasts beautiful parks and gardens that provide peaceful sanctuaries. Places like Maidan or Rabindra Sarobar offer ample green spaces where one can take a leisurely stroll or simply sit back and relax amidst nature's tranquility.

Q: What are the free things to do in Kolkata?

A: One of the most popular free things to do in Kolkata is visiting the Victoria Memorial, a grand edifice dedicated to Queen Victoria. Built with white marble, this majestic memorial houses a museum showcasing historical artifacts and paintings from British colonial rule. The lush green gardens surrounding it are perfect for leisurely strolls or enjoying a picnic with friends and family. Entry to the gardens is free, and it's an ideal spot for spending some quality time amidst nature's beauty without spending a penny.

Q: What are the best things to do in Kolkata for couples?

A: A delightful experience for couples is visiting Princep Ghat, where they can take a boat ride on the river or enjoy a picnic by its picturesque surroundings.

For an enchanting evening, couples can visit Park Street, often referred to as The Street that Never Sleeps. This bustling area boasts numerous restaurants and cafes where couples can indulge in delicious cuisine while enjoying live music or dance performances. The famous South Park Street Cemetery nearby also offers a unique and peaceful experience. Couples can take a walk amidst ancient tombstones and admire its serene atmosphere.

Additionally, spending an afternoon at the tranquil Botanical Gardens is highly recommended for nature-loving couples. This expansive garden houses an impressive collection of flora from around the world and features charming pathways perfect for hand-in-hand strolls. There's also an exquisite Japanese-style garden inside the complex where couples can find tranquility amidst beautiful landscapes.

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO KOLKATA

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